Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games | Indian TT contingent will find it difficult to match their feat from Gold Coast
A file picture of Manika Batra.|
It would be difficult to reach a new high after the 'peak' of 2018, but the Indian table tennis team would be happy if it were to replicate their record-breaking eight medal haul from Gold Coast. In Australia, India outperformed expectations by capturing three gold, two silver, and three bronze.
In the tournament, the 27-year-old Manika Batra won two gold medals and half of those medals, catapulting her career and fame in the process. This season, the women's squad will have a fresh appearance thanks to the addition of the 41st-ranked Manika, together with the current national champion Sreeja Akula, Reeth Rishya, and Diya Chitale.
The best TT player from India, Sharath Kamal, who will compete in his fifth and last Commonwealth Games, together with veteran G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, and Sanil Shetty, make up a strong men's team. Prior to travelling to Hungary to compete in the multisport tournament, the athletes trained in Portugal.
With three players approaching the court against their non-selection, the table tennis contingent's off-table buildup wasn't the smoothest. Only Chitale ultimately gained entry, depriving Archana Kamath of her opportunity to partner with Manika in doubles.
The men's team of four is the same as it was in the previous iteration. The foursome will be expected to defend their team championship because they have much more experience. The men from India will be seeded third, after Nigeria and England, two well-known opponents.
"England as a team are slightly stronger than Nigeria. The aim is definitely to win gold in the team as well as individual event" Sharath, 40, who last won a singles gold medal in Melbourne in 2006, said. Aruna Quadri, who is now ranked 12 in the world, represents Nigeria, while Liam Pitchford has significantly improved, and veteran Paul Drinkhall frequently performs at his best at multi-sport competitions.
Despite this, the Indians will be confident in their prospects against their opponents in every category. Sharath discussed India's explosive development in table tennis since he made his Games debut 16 years ago "A Commonwealth gold was a huge event back then, but now we take them for granted. We won medals in the Asian Games for the first time greatly influenced how our rivals view us."
India managed to win up to four medals in mixed doubles and doubles in Gold Coast, however, none were gold medals. A similar amount is anticipated this time around. Along with Sharath and Manika, Sathiyan will be a gold medal threat in the men's doubles and mixed doubles events, respectively.
Men: Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty
Women: Manika Batra, Reeth Rishya, Sreeja Akula, Diya Chitale